Archive for November, 2009

5 Great Gifts for Wine Lovers

November 28th, 2009 No comments

Do you have any wine lovers on your gift list this Christmas?  Check out these great gifts for wine lovers from Vintage Cellars:

Pek Wine Steward

Pek Wine Steward

Many wine collectors enjoy opening a bottle to drink with a weeknight dinner.  But most often, they don’t want to finish the whole bottle.  They might try recorking it and stashing it in the refrigerator, but are invariably disappointed by the wine’s quality the next day.  After all, there’s no sense in buying and aging fine wine if you’re only going to enjoy two glasses.

Meet the Pek Wine Steward, the first device ever made that truly extends the life of an open wine bottle.  The Wine Steward works by replacing the air in the top of an open bottle with argon gas, protecting the wine against the harmful effects of oxidation.  For any connoisseur, the Wine Steward is an indispensable tool and a great gift.

Riedel Glassware

Picture 2Perfect wine deserves a perfect vessel.  There is no better maker of fine glassware than Riedel (contrary to popular belief, “Riedel” rhymes with “needle”), an Austrian company that has been producing glasses and decanters for eleven generations.  In that time, the name Riedel has become synonymous with quality.  The technical precision of their glass designs, with such characteristics as large bowl sizes for capturing aromas, make Reidel glasses the ideal way to enjoy wine.

Reidel makes a variety of glass designs, but one great holiday gift is the Riedel “O” Stemless glasses.

Stemless glassware is a trendyRiedel decanter and also perfectly usable way to enjoy fine wine.  In addition to its of-the-moment appeal, stemless glassware fits perfectly in a dishwasher or picnic basket.  Its sturdy design makes it a great gift for grandparents or families with young children.  “O” Stemless glassware comes in several varieties specifically made for different wine types, from Pinot to Chardonnay.

Riedel Decanter

World-renowned glassware company Riedel also manufactures decanters: large, necked glass bottles that wine is poured into before service, allowing it to aerate.  Wine connoisseurs know that allowing the wine to come in contact with air before serving brings out its best flavors.  Younger wines and some older wines can greatly benefit from being decanted before they are enjoyed.

Besides being functional, Reidel’s decanters are true works of art, offered in designs that range from traditional to modern.  Browse the full line of Riedel glassware.

Rogar Wine Opener

Rogar wine openerA high-tech wine opener is a must-have for any wine collector.  Rogar makes professional-grade wine openers that open wine quickly and easily.  Those days of floating cork pieces are over.

Rogar offers a variety of wine openers.  The Champion can be clamped to a bar, and can re-cork your wine bottles as well as open them.   The Estate Wine Opener specializes in beauty and functionality, taking an antique design and outfitting it with modern technology.  The Professional Wine Opener is crafted to look like an antique corkscrew.  It is equipped with a plastic safety barrier around the auger, and automatically ejects the cork once the bottle is open. Hint: Table-mounted openers make great gifts for wine lovers who can never find their bottle opener!

Wine Barrel Furniture

Wine barrel furniture

Unique, functional, and vintage: wine furniture from Vintage Cellars is the ultimate gift.  Wine furniture from the Barrel Collection is made by Fontenay Wood, a company that constructs pieces completely from vintage wine barrels and tanks.  Beautiful tables and chairs are composed entirely of the medium for wine aging.  The curvature from wine barrels is crafted into elegantly arched table legs and chair backs, and the wood’s natural burgundy stain has been soaked into the grain from years of wine aging. These unique qualities make the furniture a natural conversation starter, and a great place to sit and enjoy a perfect glass.  Reclaimed wine barrels can also be made into countertops, doors, floors, or anything the imagination can shape them into.

Check back next week for more great gifts for wine lovers from Vintage Cellars.  Happy shopping!

Vintage Cellars at the 2009 San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival

November 22nd, 2009 1 comment

Yesterday, the Vintage Cellars gang got to enjoy some great wine and great people at the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival. This annual event attracts over 8,000 restaurateurs and wine experts who cater to more than 8,000 thousand hungry foodies with unlimited samples.  Held at the gorgeous Embarcadero Park North, which overlooks San Diego Bay, yesterday’s event was the high point of a five-day culinary festival.  One hundred seventy wineries and spirit producers and 70 of San Diego’s award-winning fine dining restaurants offered tastes to food lovers from around the world.  For anyone who loves food and wine, the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival is truly a can’t-miss festival, and one of the best events offered in San Diego.

The venue

The venue

Gene, Jake and Chris had a successful day connecting with new clients and socializing with a crowd that loves wine as much as they do.  Gene said, “This is a great event and the venue is incredible.  I’m pretty amazed that there are so many wine enthusiasts here.”  Indeed, the Vintage Cellars booth was full all day as interested wine lovers checked out some of Vintage Cellars’ past projects and imagined themselves seated on chairs made from vintage wine barrels, enjoying a perfectly aged bottle from their private cellars.

Gene talks to some interested wine enthusiasts

Gene talks to some interested wine enthusiasts

But the San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival wasn’t all work and no play for the Vintage Cellars crew.  Beyond getting a chance to interact with new clients, they had a great time tasting wine and sampling great food.  Jake especially loved the wines offered by Ahnfeldt Winery, a Napa Valley winery that grows five vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes.  As for me, choosing a favorite wine was too tough to call, but two food standouts were an herb gnocchi from Anthology and a surprisingly delicious tempura-battered cheesecake dessert taco from Blue Point.

Wine lover Rachel Erwin poses with the Riedel glasses she won from the Vintage Cellars raffle.  Congratulations, Rachel!

Wine lover Rachel Erwin poses with the Riedel glasses she won from the Vintage Cellars raffle. Congratulations, Rachel!

Jake poses with some photos at the Vintage Cellars booth

Jake with some photos at the Vintage Cellars booth

If you didn’t make it to the San Diego Wine and Food Festival this year, mark it in your 2010 calendar today.  The Vintage Cellars gang had a great time drinking, eating, and showing off their work to the foodies and wine aficionados of San Diego.  One customer, admiring Vintage Cellars’ past projects portfolio, remarked, “You know, the cellars they build are not just a place to keep your wine.  They are a shrine for your wine.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Is the Wine Cellar Thanksgiving Ready?

November 19th, 2009 No comments

Thanksgiving Day is the ultimate challenge.  In my family, the Thanksgiving meal is served by passing the bowl and scooping up mass amounts of side dishes, followed by the massive serving dish of turkey and the vat of gravy to cover it all. Mashed potatoes & gravy, cranberries, fresh biscuits, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, wild rice–good luck pairing a wine with this plate full of turkey day goodness. Many families scattered across the country will have a bottle of pinkish liquid in a gallon jug; that won’t due for me.  Simply put, the purpose of pairing food with wine is to enhance your dining experience. The wine should enhance the food and the food should enhance the wine, creating a symbiotic relationship that improves both.

I’m a fan of Zinfandel with ripe flavor and dark color.  That just won’t work here; neither will a Cabernet or a very acidic Sauvignon Blanc.  A better choice is a balanced, lower alcohol wine with a level acidity.  No big tannins, too green or ripe.  Try these new options for pairing a wine with Thanksgiving dinner:

  1. Champagne and sparkling wine!  This is a fantastic option to go with this huge meal! The higher acidity in the wine lets it pair with heavier, starchier foods like potatoes and turkey with dressing. The low alcohol doesn’t over-exert itself and mask the flavors of the food.   The best benefit, the bubbles themselves are a nice palate cleanser when you decide to change side dishes.
  2. Pinot Noir is another nice choice.  Pinot is so versatile and most will not overpower the food with sharp dark flavors.  There are some bigger Pinots out there with higher alcohol levels; you might want to avoid those.
  3. Rosé:  Now don’t call me a soulless human being.  Think pink…  Rosés can make a great wine pairing for Thanksgiving.  Most quality Rosés have a nice non-tannic, fresh fruitiness to them.   Rosé wines are not all sweet!  I’m not talking about white Zin!   Many well-known wineries are producing bone-dry rosés made from different red grapes, creating a wonderful dry fruitiness.

Now head to the wine cellar and see what you have…  Don’t feel limited with these selections if they don’t blend with your palate, they are just some suggestions to help you with pairing a wine with your Thanksgiving.  You can always fall back on the usual drier Rieslings’ or Gewurtsminier.  When in doubt, hit your local quality wine shop and start asking questions…

The Almost-Custom Wine Cellar

November 13th, 2009 No comments

Vintner Series 3 ft. Open Diamond Bin Wine RackThe wine and wine storage industries are not immune to tough economic times. I read a statistic not long ago that showed the consumption of wine is up (by volume) while revenue is down roughly 25%. Basically that means we are all drinking more wine–that’s a plus. The bad news for the wine industry: the market has moved to less expensive, lower quality wines. The even worse news for the wine storage industry: those wines are consumed and not moved to long term storage.

People still needs wine racks to store their wine.  The average wine collector still wants a quality place to store their wine. But in many cases, the luxury of a custom cellar is no longer attainable.  How can you get a custom-looking wine cellar at a kit price? The answer: Vintner Wine Racking Kits. The kit side of the wine storage has always been plagued by the lack of adaptability.   If a kit is 72 inches high, it’s 72 inches high.   There is no real design, spirit or imagination that accompanies a kit design.

Vintner Wine Racking Kits have solved that problem.   They come in 4 foot and 3 foot high sections to adapt to different ceiling heights. An individual or designer (like myself) can add some wine racking imagination with stackable kits. There are also different base heights, molding options and a center trim molding to create a custom wine cellar feel.  Recently, to help Vintage Cellars customers fit into a specific budget, I have designed a specific wine cellar using Vintner Kits. I’ve been impressed with the results. If your budget does not allow a complete high quality custom design, semi-custom wine racking kits are your next best option. It’s flexible, design-friendly and high quality. Sound like the solution for you? Call me and let’s discuss your new almost-custom wine cellar design.


The Wine Lifestyle Meets the Yachting Lifestyle:

November 4th, 2009 No comments

Vintage Cellars - Yachting Lifestyle Boat ShowWine is not just an alcoholic drink poured into a glass, it’s a lifestyle.  Yachting is also a lifestyle that often runs parallel with the wine lifestyle.  One can only assume that people who own 100 foot yachts may have custom wine cellars in their home.  I wanted to bring them together…

After engineering a seaworthy wine cellar at the beginning of 2009 (on a 124 foot yacht), I wanted to see if there was a marketplace to design and build wine cellars on “mega” yachts.  It took some education on my part, but I believe the term “mega” yacht or “super” yacht means the vessel is over 68 feet in length.  So I headed to the biggest boat show in the United States.

I attended the Ft. Lauderdale Boat and Yacht show down in sunny Florida.  I wanted to educate myself on the industry and discuss the idea of designing wine cellars on really big boats.  I suspected that most yachts had wine cabinets and after discussing the idea with builders, designers and naval architects, I was right.  To my surprise, many industry experts have never even considered putting a wine room, or wine cellar, on a yacht.  Sure, it is commonplace for a nice high end Eurocave or Sub Zero to be located in the galley or entertainment room.

I think the future is bright bringing the wine cellar industry and the yacht industry together…  I’ll keep you posted.

– Jake